You’ve made your
baby name list and you’ve checked it twice. And still, something isn’t quite right. After going over the list over (and over) again, you still haven’t fallen completely and totally in love with a name that you feel will fit your future daughter. That might be because you’re only searching for names within the continental United States. Looking across the pond might possibly open up your name pool, and these European baby names for girls just might make you say, “Ooh la la.”
The pressure to pick out a name for your child is almost impossible. You’re basically choosing a name for a human being whom you’ve never met (but have felt kick your ribs multiple times daily), and as such, you want to somehow ensure that they’ll grow up to love their name... and not loathe it. So you might decide to seek out a European
baby name for girls as an homage to your child’s heritage, because you love the sweet significance of the name, or simply because it sounds lovely.
If you’re looking for something beyond
Olivia, Emma, and Ava, you just might really discover a passion for names that all originate in another land. These European girl names are the key to a whole new world of ideas. 1 Aurelie Oleg Breslavtsev, Getty images
This lovely French name is becoming more popular throughout Europe, and comes with a wide range of nicknames: Rory, Arie, and Aurie, to name a few. From the Latin Aurelius (meaning “golden”), this name is perfect for your golden girl.
Sometimes considered a derivative of Lily or a combination of the names Lily and Louise, this French name is absolutely adorable and can easily be shortened to Lee or Lou.
Originating from the Italian name Maria, Mia is believed to be derived from the Egyptian “Mr,” meaning “beloved.” Mio, meanwhile, is a popular girl’s name in Japan meaning “beautiful” or “cherry.”
A Scottish name meaning “island,” it’s also a Spanish name meaning “island,” interestingly enough. A fairly unusual name made more well-known by the Australian actress Isla Fisher, this name is simple and pretty but still unique.
A diminutive version of the Dutch or Frisian name Fem, Femke is a girl’s name meaning “peace,” which is reason enough to choose it. Femke is most popular in Germany and the Netherlands but makes a beautiful girl’s name anywhere (and there won’t be too many other Femke’s in her class at school).
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Although you might be more familiar with the English name Adele (and the pipes on that British bombshell singer), you might want to take a spin to Spain and consider Adella. The meaning of Adella, which is “noble,” can be bestowed upon your baby, since you probably already consider her a little queen. Going farther back, Adella has roots in Old Germanic names like Adelaide.
If you want a name that sounds like a song, Adriana is it. It’s common in quite a few countries (like Spain), and is originally of Latin origin. It means “Man of Adria,” which is a city in northern Italy. Adriana is one of those European baby names that begets a bunch of nicknames, like Adri, Riri, Ana, Anita, and even Ann.
There are quite a few famous Charlottes. You might think of a spider’s web, from the childhood favorite book by E.B. White, or Charlotte York from
Sex and the City might spring to mind. Whatever the association, there’s no denying that the name Charlotte is popular. In fact, it currently ranks as the fourth most popular girl’s name in the United States, according to the Social Security Administration. But Charlotte is a French girl’s name and means “free man.” 9 Poppy
Lily. Rose. Daisy. As far as floral names go, Poppy is pretty... and becoming more popular, too. An English name, Poppy is of Latin origin and means “red flower.” It’s now in the top 500 for baby girl names, whereas a few years ago it barely even ranked. And it’s just a happy name and a fun one to say, too.
Oui, oui! If having a Parisian name is important for you, Esme might be it. The name is of French and Persian origin, and it means “beloved,” which is such a fitting feeling to describe how you feel about your beautiful baby. The pronunciation might not be what you think, though, since Esme is not sounded out like “Es-mee,” but rather “Ez-may.”
Beatrice is one of those everything-old-is-new-again names. It’s a French name, and means “she who makes happy.” And after all, doesn’t your baby make you happy? Beatrice is a common name throughout Europe (such as in Italy and Romania) and has cute nicknames, like Trix, Bay, and Triss, or you can have a Golden Girls moment and call her Bea.
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A Russian girls’ name, Mila was originally a nickname for longer names like Ludmila or Milena (which just happens to be actress Mila Kunis’ real name). It means “gracious” or “dear,” and is a standby in Slavic countries like Poland, Croatia, and Serbia, among other nations.
Stateside, it might be known as Susanna. But in Europe, it’s all about the Z’s. That’s right, Zuzanna is a girls’ name of Slavic and Latvian descent. It means “lily,” so if you’re looking for a floral name that won’t be as popular as Willow, Zuzanna is a good choice. As for how it’s pronounced, you say it like you read it, with a hard Z sound.
A lot of countries are trying to claim Lena as their own, and with good reason. It means “bright” or “beautiful,” which is exactly how you’ll feel when you look at your own little one. Interestingly enough, Lena is recently its own name, having been a nickname for longer names that ended in “lena,” such as Helena, Milena, Alena, or even Yelena.
In merry ol’ England, Hannah is a popular European baby girls’ name. A Hebrew name, Hannah derives from the original name Channah, and means “grace.” And that’s a good thing, because if you like the name Grace but feel that it’s been overused as of late, Hannah holds the same sentiment. You can stick to the traditional spelling, or go for other variations like Hana, Hanna, or Channa, too.
Don’t let all those vowels scare you off, Saoirse-loving fans. In Ireland, where the baby girls’ name originates, Saoirse is picking up steam, and is a very popular moniker for a little Irish miss, both in the Emerald Isle and stateside. If you’re trying to sound it out, it’s pronounced “Sur-sha,” and not “Say-or-see.”
You can’t get more Irish than Roisin. Pronounced “Ro-sheen” (not Roy-sin, as you might expect), Roisin is a lovely name for your lass. The name is of Irish and Gaelic origin, and it means “a little rose.” It’s an Irish alternative to naming your child Rose, and will definitely be a name that you won’t find too frequently.
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Natural baby names can be a great way to celebrate your love of the Great Outdoors. But instead of naming your child Lake, River, or Ocean (all of which are watery and wonderful), you can decide on Daphne. A European baby girls’ name of Greek origin, Daphne means “laurel tree” or “bay tree.”
If you want to give your girl a Spanish name, you might fall in love with Jacinta. The name means “hyacinth,” which is a plant that sports bell-shaped (and utterly fragrant) flowers. Hyacinth might be a mouthful to say, so Jacinta (pronounced “Ha-seen-tah”) is softer... and sweeter, too.
Looking to pay respect to your or your partner’s Russian roots? Then write Anastasia on your baby name list. It means “resurrection,” in great part due to the name’s root word “anastasis,” which means “resurrection.” The European girls’ name, (equally as popular in Greece, too), might be bestowed upon babies born either around Christmas or Easter, revolving around Jesus Christ’s birth and death, and subsequent resurrection.
Coming up with your child’s name is never an easy undertaking. But by thinking more broadly (and, you know, thinking abroad), you can now include a bunch of beautiful European baby names for girls to your list. And you might find that, among all those names, is the perfect one.
This article was originally published on
November 6, 2021